Local foods alumni cannot live without

Last week, we asked Penn State alumni on Facebook what they missed the most about Happy Valley when they are away. Even now, you're probably thinking about your favorite restaurant, maybe even down to a favorite table or booth, and that food craving you can't quite satisfy anywhere else.

Alumni obliged with their dream food from their favorite spot, some old, some new, and some a distant memory. Here are their top picks:

It's no surprise that The Corner Room stays at the top of the list. It is a timeless staple, after all, Instagram-worthy backdrop, and foodie heaven for all ages. As freshmen, many can remember eating a classic meal with their parents here. Later, when feeling fancy with friends, one could depend on The Corner Room to supply great sandwiches and burgers that felt like home. It also doesn’t hurt that it is the official home of the original grilled stickies. Seriously, go have one right now! Currently the restaurant has Monday and Sunday specials with $5.99 “All You Can Eat Pasta” and $9.99 “All You Can Eat Breakfast Buffet” respectively. If you find yourself wandering around on a football weekend for a place to eat, go and indulge yourself with some stickies.

If, as a student, you never got the chance to get the Gardens Sunday Brunch at the Penn Stater, do yourself a favor and go next time you are in Happy Valley. Alumni miss this lavish spread immensely, and you should wonder why. From 10 a.m. till 2 p.m., you will be able to enjoy everything from a Belgium waffle station, fresh fruit display and seafood bar to a table of Chef Carved Top Round Beef. Visitors also receive one complimentary mimosa or champagne glass after 10 a.m. Now you know where to stay for the next home game.

Many alumni miss the Deli & Z-Bar because it offers one of the best bar and restaurant combinations in the area. The Deli serves traditional American meals all made from scratch! The menu offers everything from comfort food to pub staples. Here, they make their own soups, breads, sauces and desserts (I hear have won awards). Meanwhile, the Zbar is the best accompaniment to an amazing meal. Celebrating American Craft beer with more than 57 drafts, the Zbar knows its specialties. However, if craft isn’t your thing, take a look at their respected wine selections. Sometimes the bar can get crazy and even offer you a snickers martini. You should check that out.

The Nittany Lion Inn’s main contribution to PSU society, besides being an amazing inn, is food. So much so that even alumni don’t forget. Many describe missing the meal they ate at the Inn, and with good reason. The Inn offers two distinct dining experiences with two main restaurants: Whiskers, a casual dining spot, and The Dining Room, which is more formal. Whiskers offers a more pub-like experience with a wide variety of salads and sandwiches. The Dining Room was awarded the 2016 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence and Wine Spectator’s 2018 “Best of” Award of Excellence and is the top option for fine dining in Happy Valley.


Alumni who still craved the nightlife but were foodies at heart miss Inferno Brick Oven & Bar because, at Inferno, both of these things are possible. Inferno nights start off with a dinner service and then transition into a stylish nightclub with great ambiance and live music. Food is important at Inferno and so the specialty is Neapolitan brick oven artisan pizza as well as other modern Italian cuisines. However, the hybrid of restaurant and bar also offers lunch services every day. Give Inferno a try.

Ye Old College Diner has always been a classic with alumni. It didn't hurt that it was open 24/7, with breakfast available all day and night. It was a sad day when it closed its doors, but fortunately their celebrated Grilled Stickies live on!

...and the ones for the history books.

Remember the BEST lasagne place,” Susan W. said. “Back in the 60s, we had the best lasagne on earth, not far from the Lion's Den. Plus there was that square cut HiWay Pizza across from McLanahan's, and their round pie place across from SBS.” Gus' Cheesesteaks complete with banana peppers, are fondly remembered, along with The Blue Shark at the Shark Club. It's hard to scratch the itch that Darkhorse and The Train Station left when they closed their doors.

What did we miss? If you could order your favorite finals week guilty pleasure – what would it be? Tell us at fun@happyvalley.com.

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